Parrot Work

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I think the biggest mistake any parrot owner can make is thinking your parrot is a pretty ornament. Sometimes we don’t realize how much “work” owning a parrot is but “Work” is exactly what it is. I love my birdies just like my own children but one day my children will grow up and leave me. My feathered friends do not have that option unless it’s through death. It truly is a “Til death do we part” relationship or unless the parrot owner decides to give up on that relationship.

The work I put into my parrots is time-consuming, tiring, brain-stimulating but for me it’s rewarding. I stress “for me” because what I see as being worthy you may not. When I see a parrot change their hesitation towards me, it brings joy to my heart ex: a parrot who you can’t get to step up or do anything you ask it to suddenly decides to let you pet them all over or starts stepping up every time makes me happy. Makes me know all my time and effort wasn’t in vain, it is being received.

Parrot work isn’t instant. It’s trial and error and it requires a lot of patience. Patience is something I truly lack but having parrots is teaching me how to deal with it. I’m always looking to learn more, blog more and keep putting information out there as I come across it because I feel people really need to understand EXACTLY what is the commitment when owning a parrot. Unfortunately, it is not an easy task.

Curiosity, love and a cage with food and water are just not enough to keep a parrot happy. Trust me, I’m almost 10 years in and I’ve made LOTS  of mistakes along the way. I’ve also lost a few parrots who never even entered old age. A parrot dying young is hard for me because of the fact that I automatically blame myself and it takes me a while to get over that lost because they aren’t ornaments, they are my family. So a parent’s parrot work is NEVER done!!

Parenting Parrots

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Switched on Me

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When researching about parrots, its always been said that when they mature, they may switch their favorite person. I have never experienced this until now. Rasta, our green-naped lorikeet has switched on me. He no longer cares for or desires my companionship. He has decided that my son is more his type of person. Which is great for my son, they run up and down together, laugh and play, whisper to one another. It’s a great relationship but what happened to our bond? Why can’t he like both of us? I don’t want to take away my son’s bond at all but I still want Rasta to interact with the whole family. I’m assuming I did something that he didn’t like and I’m being punished. It just sucks because I have no idea what I did wrong. Anyhow, I still try to interact with him although he will call my son’s name for most of the day, my son doesn’t get him until after 5pm and it would suck for him to have to wait until my son gets back in for him to come out and enjoy life. I love Rasta and will continue to attempt to work on his bond with the rest of the family when Junior Jay is not around because if he is around, Rasta only sees him.

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Parenting Parrots

The Flying Parrot

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I do not believe in clipping wings anymore. I used to do it more out of convenience for me than for any other concern so I haven’t clipped wings in a long time. I love seeing my birds open their wings and take off!

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I truly am disappointed to live in Canada because I see those birds in Australia having such a delightful time and I wish my birds could do that. If I trained them to live outside especially during the winter than that dream could become a reality but facts are they would have to be born in those conditions and kept in those conditions in order to be able to handle it. I do not want to wake up one day to see that my parrot froze to death so that idea is a BIG No, no!

I see my birds fly indoors, within my little apartment and it keeps me in “awe” to watch the natural beauty of the flying parrot. Today the weather was beautiful and all I could think of is how would it be to be able to see my birdies fly outdoors. This brings me back to harness training. In order to get a bird on a harness, it has to trust you and love you and let you do things a regular bird that didn’t know you, wouldn’t let you do. If Nyx was here, she would be that bird for me. But she’s not and I have to accept that. Maybe this was a blessing in disguise because I always turned to her to do stuff like that instead of any of the other parrots so now I will work on getting them all more trusting of me and therefore building on our relationship more.

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From arcticwingsfreeflightclub.com

Having a free-flighted parrot would have been AMAZING! Although I would always be afraid of it flying off somewhere but the training guarantees that, that won’t happen if the bond is there. What I was saying before was if their body was conditioned to the cold then I could teach them free flight but since it’s not and I don’t plan on trying to get them used to the cold, the option is out for me. You may be asking why? Why not let them be free-flighted during the spring and summer and just have them indoors not flying during the colder months? Well, that was my thought exactly but I was made aware that once you start free flying them you have to keep it up or else you will cause a whole lot of issues such as plucking and screaming etc.

Free-flying parrots don’t have the issues, that parrots who are locked up in a cage, have. But unfortunately, not all of our lives allow for that option so we have to do the best we can. Harness train them so they get outside time free of a travel cage and they can stretch their wings and exercise. It’s not exactly the same but it is the closest option. However, getting a parrot to put on a harness willingly, isn’t such an easy task but it is doable so follow our Youtube channel to eventually see a video on how to properly harness train your parrot. I’m hoping to have it up by the end of June! I will still have my flying parrot outside just not freely.

The latest in Aviator Harness Fashion model by Zoey

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Parenting Parrots

Hospitalization

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2018 isn’t turning out to be such a great year for my pets. First I lost Piper and now Nyx had to be hospitalized. GOSH, I hope everything starts turning around.
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So, Monday, April 9th, 2018 I took Nyx out of her cage as usual and I continued on my way doing what I usually do. She weighed 70grams which are her usual weight. However, I sent my 3 yr old daughter to give her an orange and Nyx flipped out and flew to me but on her way to me, she wasn’t flying properly. So automatically I was like “What’s wrong with Nyx?!”

Once she was on my finger she started regurgitating not the “I love you” kind but the vomiting kind. I thought OMG, earlier that day I made a Birdtricks meal and had seen her eating it and wondered if it affected her somehow. She vomited three times!!! Then she had diarrhea and she was missing 3 tail feathers which explained why she was flying weird. I immediately thought another bird had attacked her, I went looking in all their cages to find her 3 tail feathers. I found them in her cage, so now I was confused and I’m not sure what happened. I figured she was attacked by Grayson, flew back to her cage and then her feathers fell out (yes, I blamed poor Grayson. Unfortunately he is aggressive towards the other birds so I automatically blamed him. I’m sorry).

I called around to see if I could bring her to an emergency 24-hour vet hospital but the only one around is Guelph which is a good hour or something away. I gave her some water and pellets and she ate little and drank a little so I was hoping that maybe she was okay. I figured she was just traumatized but no real injury as I didn’t see any blood or bruising. I moved her cage into my room and off to bed we went after cuddling with her for an hour. She had no more vomit. Through the night, I heard her thrashing around in her cage. I was like what is going on?

In the morning, I weighed her and she was at 60 grams. That is way too much of a drop. I gave her some water and called the vet, called my sister to watch the kids. The vet didn’t have an opening until 3pm. I prayed over Nyx and waited. We left at 1:50pm to get to the vet. On the drive there she was perched on the perch but right before we reached our destination she fell off the perch, curled up on the floor and basically died. I begged her not to die. “Please don’t die, we are almost at the vet, please Nyx don’t leave me! I can’t handle losing you too.” It was a miracle! She jumped up out of nowhere after she was laying there basically dead and back on the perch.

I ran to the vet and apologized as it was 2:15pm. They hurried me into a room where Dr. Heather White came in to investigate. She advised me that she did not see any signs of physical trauma and was wondering if maybe Nyx had been sick for awhile and was just now showing signs. I honestly thought no way! I weigh my birds every day! They tell you that is the first signs of sickness so weigh them so you can be ahead of the game. Nyx’s weight and poop has NEVER fluctuated or changed. Dr. White advised me that she thinks Nyx had a crop infection which could be caused by pooping on food and eating it, pooping in their water, poop on a perch and cleaning their beak against it basically coming in contact with poop. She advised that she was going to do a crop wash, antibiotics and recommended hospitalization for 2 days. Then advised on antibiotics to bring home, doing a cultural swab, which they might have to send out for answers and xrays plus a blood check but the bloodwork would have to wait until Nyx was stronger. Estimate $1,600. Also, she advised that Nyx may still die but hopefully they have her in time and that won’t happen. I have never left Nyx, from the day I got her, she hasn’t even gone to a sitter. I have never had to hospitalize any of my parrots before. I couldn’t help but cry. Cry, because I didn’t want Nyx to die. Cry, because Nyx was actually sick and cry, because how was I going to pay this vet bill plus keep on top of my other bills. I don’t have $1,600 dollars but I signed those papers, paid the deposit of $600 dollars and left.

At 6:30pm Tuesday, April 10th, 2018 Dr. White called me to let me know Nyx had quite a lot of bacteria in her crop. She was first sitting in the corner of the incubator hunched over but they have given her injections and iv and now she was actually perched on their cement perch. Nyx wasn’t out of the woods but diagnostically she looked better. I was relieved. I was told to call on Wednesday at 9:30am to talk to the doctor that was on site as Dr. White wouldn’t be there to find out how Nyx was doing.

Keep you posted! Let’s pray for Nyx.

Parenting Parrots

Birthdays

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March 21st is my earth strong and March 22nd is my backbone’s earth strong. Together I felt we were a force to be reckoned with but apart… We were like any other human being out there. This is the reality of the situation. I’m permanently alone as you no longer live on this earth but in heaven is where you now call home (at least I hope so).

We make such a big thing about birthdays, for kids we have parties, celebrations, buy gifts and rejoice every year we make it to another year. As adults, we do the same thing even though it becomes less frequent. So, you can imagine I would do the same thing for the birdies. I usually bake Harrison’s bread, buy a gift and sing happy birthday. Last year, I didn’t celebrate anyone’s birthday: not mine, not my backbone’s, not the birdies and now I will never have another chance to say Happy birthday Brandon or Happy Birthday Piper. Sometimes we take time for granted.

I feel like I felt there will always be tomorrow until there wasn’t. Now I can do nothing but live with regrets and what ifs. Basically, if this past year’s events have taught me nothing but one thing: it’s to live each day as if it’s your last. Don’t forget to breathe and enjoy the little moments, celebrate each minute because it may be your last.

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Parenting Parrots

All Parrots are Different Species!

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All dogs are from the same species but different breeds.

All cats are from the same species but different breeds.

All birds are from different species.

See, I can read a book about dogs or cats and apply the information to any dog or cat I may own but I can’t do that for parrots. Every time I get a different parrot, I have to research all over again and buy books on that specific bird because I know each bird has different needs. This is why I love to have the variety of parrots that I do because each brings something different to the flock.

If you google the topic of parrot ownership it tells you to find the best bird for you and your lifestyle because each bird has different needs. For example an African Grey parrot needs to spend a lot of time out of its cage (some pamphlets say 4 hours a day) while a lovebird would be content with a little bit of time out (1 hour maybe less). So if you are barely home, you would automatically look towards getting a lovebird.  When I was looking to get an African grey everyone was advising me against it because I was working full-time and they said I would never be able to manage having a grey. Well not to brag but Grayson is now 5 years old and very active, not a screamer, talks a lot, does tricks and does not pluck! Gives me kisses and overall I can say a happy parrot. Stereotypes are put on birds just as they are put on humans. Take all the information in but truly decide for yourself and don’t let anyone else make that decision for you.

I can take care of an African Grey parrot with no issues however because birds are different species, this does not mean I would be good at taking care of other type of birds. I suck at taking care of Linnies. I bought two linnies from a breeder who was downsizing his stock and they died after I took them to P.J pets for a wing and nails trim. I thought the guy gave me sick birds however I did a necropsy and it came back saying Stress. I thought what?!?! I’ve been around lots of birds and never had an issue… Well for me, small birds are not my thing. I’m managing to take care of the lovebird but Linnies, Parrotlets and budgies I stay away from. Even the lovebird, I’m hesitant on keeping because I lost her parents so obviously I wasn’t good at taking care of them either.

I think it is very important for people to realize that birds are DIFFERENT SPECIES NOT JUST DIFFERENT BREEDS. So do not pick a bird because oh it has pretty colors, really see if they match you and your lifestyle.

What type of bird matches you? There may be multiple… For me…

I’m an African Grey type of gal because he needs time out of the cage but doesn’t want to spend all that time cuddling. A hug and kiss here and there is cool. Doing training is cool. He likes to chill close to you but doesn’t have to be all over you, that is totally just like me.
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I’m also a black capped conure type of gal because she knows what she wants, how to warn you about what she doesn’t like. Very expressive like me hahaha. My issue with my black capped conure is she loves to be on you 24/7, for me that’s a con because I need to be able to move around as my household is very hectic. However her and I have come to an understanding so we are definitely getting better as she will just chill on my shoulder as long as she knows I will be moving around at the same time.
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I’m also a quaker type of gal because piper LOVES music and his own space just like me.

I love my Indian Ringnecks’ independence but I miss their “need” for me so I’m not sure if I can call myself an Indian Ringneck type of gal as yet… Only more time will tell (but I have 2 of them now so I must be, right? lol)
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I DEFINITELY AM A LORY/LORIKEET TYPE OF GAL! I’m absolutely in love with their personalities, although opposite of me, they keep me on my toes and remind me of my son in a way.


Anyways, what I’m trying to say is PLEASE do your research before selecting your parrot. A lot of people don’t and this is how these beautiful animals ends up in shelters.

Parenting Parrots

My ♥ Valentine!!

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Today is Valentine’s day and although I don’t usually celebrate. This year I want to say Happy Valentine’s day to my late uncle/twin as he never made it to 2018 to see today and I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing but I miss him so for me it makes me feel even more lonely.

I want to say Happy Valentine’s and Happy birthday to my sister who is older than me by 7 years. She was born on this precious day. So I’m wishing her all the best.

But the best part of this post is who I decided will be my 2018 Valentine!

I’ve struggled with this decision, it was definitely a hard one but I’ve decided to choose KODAK BLACK to be my valentine! For soooo many reasons:

1) He turned 2 in December so his age represents 2 like for twins (for me and my uncle/twin)
2) He is the newest member of the family
3) He is very loving – likes to give me his tongue when we kiss so I have to fold my lips as I’m not into tonguing a parrot lol but also because I don’t want him exposed to my saliva
4) He loves me, I can see it and feel it
5) He is so entertaining I think he makes a GREAT 2018 valentine!

So please join me by leaving a comment below saying HAPPY VALENTINE’s DAY KB (kodak)!
Parenting Parrots

The Conure Escapes

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She is such a doll. I love her vibrant colors and the way she is so easily trained. I would definitely recommend a black-capped conure to anyone who was interested in a parrot that was trainable. She is definitely a smart cookie!

So I was home and she was in her cage, where she never wants to be! She always wants to be with me. I love it but sometimes I need her to be in her cage for safety purposes. I guess on this particular day she was like nope I had enough and she came flying out her cage right to my shoulder. I was shocked!

I had downsized her cage as it was rusting and she is currently in one of those small white cages that the doors slide up and down. I don’t know how she managed to keep a door open long enough for her to fly out but she did! I’m just grateful that it didn’t come slamming down on her head! She came out of her food bowl door and as soon as she did, the door shut! So I was happy everything worked out but this is why I don’t like these kind of cages because I’m afraid of this exact thing happening except more fatal.

This was also a wake up call to me though. This told me that she needed more of my attention and was feeling a bit neglected because she risked her life to come to me. I apologized to her and told her never to escape the depths of hell again hahaha, no, I’m joking but I did agree to make sure I gave her a bit more attention as Conures do need.

You will have some birds who like their independence. Doesn’t mean they don’t want to be out and about with you but they don’t require physical contact as much. Then you will have parrots who thrive on a personal level with you. For example my black-capped conure, african grey, black lory and female indian ringneck – they need my one on one attention basically anytime they are out and about with me. However my rainbow lorikeet, male indian ringneck and the quaker (r.i.p) likes my attention but can manage if I’m busy for a few, they definitely find ways to entertain themselves.

I’ve taught all the birds the importance of independent play but doesn’t mean they want to do it if they don’t have to. Anyhow, so back at the issue at hand my black-capped conure escaped her cage and flew to my shoulder, makes me feel special to know she personally seeks me out. I mean, she could have flown out of her cage to the potty perch, the java tree or the activity stand but instead she came to me. I think this deserves an AWWWW!

Parenting Parrots

New Baby Within Flock

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On December 26th, 2017 we welcomed another little bundle of joy into our flock except this time it was a baby human versus being a baby bird. This is where the challenge comes in, just like you have to be careful when introducing a new bird, you have to be careful when introducing a baby human.

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I say this because my parrots need to know their limits when it comes to the babies of the house. Just like you have house rules, I expect you to have rules for your parrots too. Can you imagine a household with no rules? Can you say unruly children? So this is where the difficulty comes in, it’s not everyday a new baby is brought into the house and most times I forget about exercising the rules because I have the birds out when the kids’ aren’t home. Therefore the rules aren’t a constant reminder to them, so it can be easily forgotten. I can’t just expect them to remember and do what’s wanted/needed. At this point, I have no choice but to think about re-training.

The baby/babies will be here and if I still want to be able to train and interact with the parrots while the kids are home (as they will be all the time now), I have to make sure both parties (parrots and kids) know the rules of the household. To be honest I’m not too worried about re-training because most of the parrots are acceptable towards the kids, my worry comes from Grayson, who has never really tolerated the little ones (blame it on my training or lack thereof). Also Ringo, as he doesn’t even tolerate me haha but it will definitely give me something to record and document for you guys.

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The first step to introducing the two is I keep the baby out of their sight for a few days. All the birds hear are the baby cries and coos but they don’t get to actually be introduced for a few days. I have been home for 4 days now and just yesterday I brought Nyx (black-capped conure) to look at the baby. She walked around the whole bassinett and looked down at our little bundle but she was calm, cool and collected which was great. The next step for Nyx will be to have her in the room while I’m changing his diaper, breastfeeding etc, the point is to get her comfortable or make sure she is comfortable with me doing the daily activities with the baby and kids out and about. For the older kids, I will do what I  always do and continue to train Nyx while the kids provide her with the rewards. I’ll get my 3 yr old to help with water and food changing and I anticipate by the end of January Nyx will be able to be out and about all the time when the kids are out and I won’t have to worry.

This  same procedure will take place for each of the parrots but one at a time. The goal is to have the kids be able to step the birds up correctly and know how to handle them (after they have all pass the age of 5 lol) and the parrots will know not to bite the kiddies but instead if something is done that they don’t like to just fly away. This is one of the reasons I advocate for fully flighted birds as they are better socialized (personal opinion) and will usually pick flight over fight.

So good luck to me, the kids, the new baby boy and the parrots living happily ever after!

Parenting Parrots

Baked Harrison’s Birdie Bread

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I hope this wasn’t considered cheating on my “Month of No Pellets”. I have been through a week and all the birds are doing well, weighing them everyday and still training. One HUGE difference I’ve noticed and I’m not sure why but the noise level has diminished A LOT! I’m definitely not complaining, I still hear them talking English but any yaking or bird noises that make you want to plug your ears are very little. Maybe they have just decided to be quiet this week or maybe there is some kind of connection between the pellets and noise level or maybe the schedule I have them on without pellets makes a difference, who knows the possibilities are endless. What I do know is I had a very quiet week hahaha.

Because they have all been really good and didn’t pout or put up a resistance to not being given pellets I let my daughters help me bake some birdie bread for them today. I think I should have put some more Sunshine Factor in it as it came out a little dry looking but apparently that was only on top, the inside was moist and it was the first time I EVER baked Birdie Bread for my birdies. I used the Pepper mix and all the parrots ate it right up. NOW, that could be because it’s closer to getting pellets than anything else they have been getting or they might just really like it, we’ll see as I will make it again.

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The only ingredients I had to add was 2 eggs and Sunshine Factor (Red Palm Oil) so definitely something easy to make. Now where I live one bag is 18.75 CAD but this will probably last me 3 or 4 days depending on the portion size I decide to give. I have 5 parrots eating this though most people would only have one or two so this would probably last you a while depending on your portion size and how often you feed it. I will definitely try the other flavors which are Original and Millet.

The funny thing is my parrots don’t like red palm oil usually (Not sure if this is true for the IRNs as I never tried them with it) so I was scared that they wouldn’t accept the bread but I guess with it cooked in the bread they didn’t mind or again it could be the lack of pellets that enticed them. Overall though I have heard very good reviews regarding the bread and my review would be the same. It was quick, easy to mix, easy to bake, easy to clean up after and the Parrots enjoyed it so I do/will recommend the Harrison’s Birdie Bread. I will do a video of me tasting it with the birds so look out for that and then you will see if I, myself like the taste even though my taste buds really don’t matter as it’s not for me to eat.

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Found this on the internet but my bread looked exactly like this

Parenting Parrots